*For more information on the knee in general, refer to a previous blog titled “The Knee Explained”. PATELLAR TENDONITIS: Also known as jumper’s knee, this condition is caused by inflammation of the patellar tendon. Usually the person who suffers from this is involved in activities that require jumping of some sort. Pain is usually elicited with jumping and with direct pressure over the tendon. Treatment includes rest, ice, stretching of the surrounding musculature, anti-inflammatories (either natural or synthetic), and a brace called an infrapatellar strap that goes around the leg just below the knee.
OSGOOD-SCHLATTERS: This occurs mainly in children and adolescents who play sports and are growing rapidly. The quadriceps tendon attaches to a point just below the knee and when there is stress on that bone area, the pulling can cause pain, swelling, and even a bony bump that forms. Treatment includes rest, ice, using a knee brace or patella strap, and stretching muscles that cross the knee joint.
PLICA SYNDROME: The synovial plica is a remnant of fetal material that in some people, are more prominent “sleeves of tissue” in the knee joint. These flaps can become irritated either with a direct hit or with overuse. Pain is similar to meniscus tears and patellar tendonitis. Swelling is usually more prominent with plica syndrome. Treatment includes ice, anti-inflammatories (natural or synthetic), rest, and getting the knee adjusted to all for proper movement and function.
BAKER’S CYST: These are protrusions of the synovial fluid in the back of the knee. They can be caused by most any type of knee injury or arthritis. Symptoms include pain or tightness behind the knee and a palpable and sometimes visual bulge behind the knee. There may also be no pain at all. Treatment often includes aspiration (removing with a needle) of the cyst and local anti-inflammatories.
DISLOCATED PATELLA: This is a displacement of the knee cap out of its groove. This can be caused by direct trauma or when there is a sudden change of direction when the leg is planted. These tend to be obvious as the knee cap may wrap around to the side of the knee. Immobilization is necessary initially and an x-ray is often done to see if there is any damage to the bone. Physical therapy is necessary to help stabilize the joint and prevent future dislocations.
*This list in no way covers all problems with the knee joint. It is simply a quick guide to the most common conditions in the knee. For proper evaluation and diagnosis, seek care from a medical provider.